Washington Lawmakers’ Hard Work Over the Last Legislative Session

Lawmakers in Washington are back to working on the legislation that didn’t make it in time for a key cutoff deadline. They’re working in committees and many of the bills that didn’t receive a floor vote aren’t going to be included in this session.

House Speaker Laurie Jinkins (Democrat out of Tacoma) stated that she’s satisfied with the floor action that went on over the last week and a half. Numerous bills passed and many of these had bipartisan support. Some of the bills seeing progress include those that increase supply of housing and support workforce development, especially when it comes to nurses. Jinkins said that she asked her caucus at the start of the session to focus on recognizing common ground. Though this went relatively well, there were some policy losses and wins between the parties on topics such as abortion, public safety, and the environment.

A Split on Public Safety Bills

Lawmakers couldn’t agree when it came to new regulations on gun sales. One bill in particular did advance, which restricts use and sale of semi automatic rifles and other high-capacity firearms. Another bill that makes it mandatory to get safety training and puts into place a 10-day gun sale waiting period also moved forward.

The Senate did approve a bill which makes gun sellers and manufacturers legally liable in the instance that the weapons they make available are used for illegal purposes.

One bill that somewhat eases parameters for police pursuits (including when they are able to chase vehicles) was approved on the last day before the cutoff for the session. This only serves to keep the debate going on this matter. Republicans are in favor of taking the bill farther and hoping that it will be changed more upon going through the House.

Additional Bills Advancing

There are some other bills that are moving forward currently. One of them (Senate Bill 5536) is to enhance drug possession penalties and build upon state infrastructure for stronger addiction treatment. The bill for the use of psilocybin from “magic mushrooms” has passed with important changes from the initial version.

This session is considered to be a crucial one with housing. House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox (Republican for Yelm) claims that this is a solid year for housing and that both parties have been committed to putting forth bills to build livable space. No rent control bills passed before the deadline, but debates on these housing matters will continue in future years.

Other bills in this legislative session and ongoing bills include ones for more environmental protections, healthcare including for gender-affirming care and abortion, state special education oversight and funding, and how the state handles domestic violence.

Follow further news on legislative sessions to find out what bills are being proposes and which will continue to advance.